Hello, Stranger | Wigtown welcomes back audiences

30 July 2021
Wigtown County Buildings and rooftops from a distance. Wigtown Bay and the Galloway Hills are in the distance.

Wigtown Book Festival is delighted to announce that it is welcoming audiences and authors back to Scotland's National Book Town this autumn following last year's digital-only event. 

Taking as its theme, "Hello, Stranger", the 2021 festival (22 September to 4 October) will be two days longer than in previous years, with more than 140 events for adults and young people, around half the pre-Covid number.

At the town's heart will be a new, free outdoor venue, The Gardens, with a large screen and informal seating which aims to be Wigtown's answer to Wimbledon's Murray Mound. Selected live audience events will also be streamed from Wigtown to audiences around the world.

The full programme will be released on Friday, 13 August when booking is due to open online. But some of the authors attending the Dumfries & Galloway event in person include novelists Val McDermid, Francis Spufford and Salena Godden, philosopher AC Grayling, broadcasters Rory Cellan-Jones and biographer Emma Soames. 

Other additions to the programme include Saltmarsh walks with Saltire Award-winning author Stephen Rutt and the announcement of the new Anne Brown Essay Prize for Scotland. The Wigtown Poetry Prize will also return. 

Artistic director Adrian Turpin said: “This year's festival is all about the joy of being together again, although it will be bittersweet given the friends we've lost since the last time we gathered. We look forward to seeing familiar and new faces, and to showing that Scotland's Book Town is open for business.

“As well as providing a relaxed outdoor space at this time, we hope The Gardens venue will help open up the event to the widest possible audience. The lack of walls is symbolic as well as physical.”

Extensive Covid safety measures are being put in place across the festival. These include longer gaps between events and reduced venue capacities. 

Headshot of Salena Godden.
Headshot of Francis Spufford.
Headshot of Val McDermid.